While Virginia's former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife fight a host of charges that they contend broke no ethics laws, Virginia lawmakers have advanced a series of bills that give elected officials and lobbyists a clearer picture of what's legal and what isn't.
State lawmakers sought to close some loopholes in existing law, while not making the requirements so burdensome that honest mistakes would be severely punished.
Senate Bill 51 sounded like a no brainer – a way to help farmers and promote agritourism, but it turns out that measure and a similar one approved by the House could make life miserable for people who live near farms that invite people to pick their own fruit, wander through corn mazes or take part in pumpkin carving competitions.
Senate Bill 51 prevents counties from regulating the noise and traffic generated by such events.
It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans.
Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans.
As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson took note of the stringed gourd instruments his slaves played. Over the years, the banjo was transformed from an African instrument, to a predominantly white instrument with the familiar bluegrass twang.